Downtown Staunton churches collaborate for Helping Hands Day Camp

staunton2editsFrom August 11-15, 2014, four Downtown Staunton churches are collaborating on the second annual Helping Hands Day Camp for 60 children from Staunton, Waynesboro, Richmond, and Augusta, Rockbridge and Rockingham counties. Not just fun and educational, the Helping Hands Day Camp is also filling a community need during this week when summer programs serving these children have ended and the new school year has not yet begun.

The Planning Team from First Presbyterian (Betty Richmond and Jamie Morris), Central United Methodist (Emily Stumb), Emmanuel Episcopal (Mitzi White and Emily Cox) and Trinity Episcopal  (Muffie Newell) has put together a week of fellowship, singing, cooking lessons, community service and other activities for boys and girls ages 5 – 11. Camp counselors are members and friends of the participating churches, ranging in age from Middle School to grandparents. Additional volunteers are leading craft and recreation sessions, helping prepare and serve lunch, and accompanying the children on their “Spreading Kindness” walks through town.

First Presbyterian Church is headquarters for the camp, but you will see the campers and counselors around downtown this week as they learn about helping others.

The theme of a Bible verse learned first thing each morning during opening gathering time is woven into activities throughout the day. The verses for Monday and Tuesday were “Love each other as I have loved you” and “If you have faith all things are possible.”

Mornings begin with Small Group time and then a Large Group opening gathering for announcements, energizers, music and Bible Study. On Monday afternoon, well-known local bird rescuer, Karen Church, talked to the children about the four colorful, exotic birds she brought to show them and Paul Bugas from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries taught the children about wildlife conservation.

Tuesday’s activities included making Thank You cards and assembling snack bags to hand deliver to the Staunton City Police Wednesday when the group will have a guided tour of the police department.

The schedule for WednesdayThursday and Friday:


Wednesday, August 13 Bible verse of the day:  “God loves a joyful giver”

10:20 a.m.           Leave First Presbyterian to walk as a group to the Staunton Police Department

Tour Police Department; deliver cards and snacks to police officers

11:30 a.m.           Leave the police department to walk back to First Presbyterian

12:00 p.m.           Lunch at First Presbyterian (macaroni & cheese made in Monday’s cooking class)

Large dishes of macaroni and cheese made by the children Monday were delivered

to the Trinity Lunch program along with handmade placements and table decorations

12:30-2:30 p.m.    Bake cookies and make gift bags to deliver to the Staunton Senior Center Thursday

Make gifts and prepare flowers to deliver to Ritenour Nursing Home Thursday

3:00 p.m.            Dismissal



Thursday, August 14 “Always try to be kind to each other”

10:20 a.m.           Leave First Presbyterian to walk to the Staunton Senior Center; sing for & chat with seniors

11:30 a.m.           Leave the Senior Center to walk back to First Presbyterian

12:30-2:30 p.m.    Each child makes their own “Helping Hands” T-shirt; bake cupcakes for closing picnic

3:00 p.m.            Dismissal



Friday, August 15 “Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give to you. Do not be troubled, do not be afraid.”

morning             Activities at First Presbyterian

12:30 a.m.           Leave First Presbyterian to walk to Central United Methodist for closing picnic

with campers and their extended families

2:00 p.m.            Closing activities at First Presbyterian

3:00 p.m.            End of Helping Hands 2014


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